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October is easily the worst month ever. It doesn’t matter how much you like pumpkin spice lattes: The weather gets cold, school gets hard, the nights get long. There are no academic breaks (at least not at CU), and there are no secular holidays until literally the last day of October. At night.
Given these conditions, it can be really easy to get a big case of the sads. And since, according to a 2011 American Public Health Association study, suicide is the leading cause of death in college students, the sads are actually a very big deal.
If you’re like me, and your happiness depends mostly on exposure to the sun, you might need a little help to fight and defeat the sads. Here are just a few things that students have found work for them.
- Exercise. You probably get told this all the time — that doesn’t make it any less important, but I won’t dwell too long on the subject. Just remember the eternal wisdom of Elle Woods: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Forget the part about killing husbands; it probably doesn’t apply.
- Stay busy. Sometimes, it’s best simply to fill up your schedule so that you don’t have time to catch the sads. Sophomore political science and communication major Colin Wichman, 19, has this approach down. “I’m really involved in student government and various honor societies and student groups. Not to mention school and work as well,” Wichman said. Keeping your mind occupied, and your days packed will help distract you from the horribleness that is October.
- Treat yourself. Don’t hesitate to indulge in little things that might help push the sads away. “I buy pretty cold-weather clothes that I will feel good wearing,” said Dina Liptsen, 19, a sophomore film studies major. Being in constant learn-and-study mode makes it easy to forget about the little, good things of life. These are important; prioritize them. If you think buying that scarf or reading that book will make you happy, do it.
- Find something you love, and do a lot of it. Junior English major Emilie Colby, 22, loves hockey. A lot. “I even got a chance to kiss the Stanley Cup in the summer,”she said. To stave off the sads in the fall and winter, she said she spends her time “watching hockey, reading about hockey, studying hockey stats… did I mention hockey?” Whether it’s hockey or yoga or photography or old Bob Ross episodes, having something to fall back to is crucial for minimizing bad days.
- Know yourself. Not every person needs the same things to be happy. “I force myself to stay active because I know it will make me happier, but I also acknowledge the value of Netflix and hot chocolate,” Ellyse Dick, 20-year-old sophomore international affairs major, said. What we want and need changes all the time, and we all benefit from checking in on ourselves once in a while to see what that is.
Above all, if the sads are getting to you so much that you think you can’t handle them, remember that there are always people to talk to. Go to your friends and mentors, or check out the several resources the university offers.
Be strong, Buffs. Winter is coming, but it doesn’t have to suck too much.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Lauren Thurman at Lauren.Thurman@Colorado.edu.